In the furor over the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib, few media outlets have noted that the evidence goes beyond mere photographs. Members of the U.S. Armed Services Committee were also allowed to peruse excerpts from the diary of Private Lynndie England, which we reprint here for your reading pleasure.
April 15, 2003
Well, I'm here! Iraq is lovely this time of year; as I write, I'm watching the setting sun slowly disappear behind what I think used to be a hospital. Everybody in the 372nd Military Police Company is well-rested and completely fired up about bringing the gift of freedom to these poor, deprived, funny-smelling little people. For now, I can't say I'm nearly as thrilled about our assignment: "Routine traffic and police duties" aren't exactly what I had in mind when I was dreaming of a military career back home in Fort Ashby. But I'm sure I'll get more satisfaction out of being a crossing guard as soon as the top brass gets around to processing my request for a choke chain.
Oct. 12, 2003
I got the chain. Even better, I got the right place to use it. We're now at Abu Ghraib prison, where MI is detaining thousands of dangerous insurgents our people picked up in random sweeps of open-air fish markets and other high-risk environments. Not a moment too soon, if you ask me. After pulling parking-meter duty all August, I can safely say that it only takes about 10,000 of these bad apples to ruin an emerging democracy for the 100 or so who really want it.
Oct. 15, 2003
All my life, I've heard that you just know it when you meet the guy you're going to be with forever. I thought that's what had happened when I met my ex-husband -- now there's a little boy who's asking to be anally violated with a broken broom handle. But I digress. What I'm trying to say, dear diary, is that I didn't know the meaning of the words "the real thing" until I locked eyes with Specialist Charles A. Graner. It happened today, when we were forming a human pyramid from the naked bodies of some especially shifty-looking detainees in the sick wing. He glanced over the pile of human degradation at me, I looked back -- and WHAM! Cupid hit us both like an MP dog going after a prisoner's femur. It was m-a-g-i-c.
Suffice it to say that the rest of the day is a blur. I could barely concentrate on my standing assignment to "soften up" the prison population for questioning. All I could think about was "hardening up" that dreamy specialist with the bulging biceps and the vaguely Hitlerian mustache. As soon as we can be alone together, I'm going to take a leaf from MI's book and make sure he gets the treatment. I'm going to see to it that he has a baaaad night, if you know what I mean, dear diary. And I think you do.
Nov. 7, 2003
Still no alone time with Mr. Right. Instead, I have to suffer the presence of Specialist Matthew Wisdom, who's really starting to fry my last nerve with his bleeding-heart routine. All day long, he kept questioning our orders to sweat these ragheads for intelligence by any means necessary. I couldn't so much as insert my finger in a prisoner's rectum without him murmuring something like, "I don't think we should be doing this." When I told him to shut the hell up and mind his own business, he passed a remark about me looking like one of the Goonies. Ooh, how I hate that man!
Nov. 8, 2003
I don't really look like one of the Goonies, do I? Of course not.
Dec. 6, 2003
I finally had my night of passion with Dreamboat Graner. It was everything I wished it'd be and more. We danced, we laughed, we shot off M-16s like lovers. I was especially knocked out by his eagerness to mimic the forced-sodomy scenarios we've been staging for the cameras all this week. What can I say? The fella learns fast!
Dec. 23, 2003
Rough day today. They had me stick a cigarette in my mouth and point at a hooded prisoner's family jewels for hours on end. I don't mind telling you that the whole experience left a bad taste in my mouth. First chance I get, I'm going to put in an official request for the Pentagon to start sending us menthols. These Camel unfiltereds are for the birds.
Jan. 14, 2004
Something's up. The boys and gals of the 372nd are buzzing about some sort of investigation that's supposed to be going on into our methods. Apparently, Brigadier General Janis Karpinski, who's in charge of all the military prisons in this country, has gotten an official reprimand. I guess I'd feel bad for her if I knew who she was. I've never actually seen her around.
On a happier note, I found out today why I've been throwing up so much. No, it isn't the cigs: Yours truly is preggers. That's right, I've got a gun in the oven! I'm so ecstatic I can hardly stand it. Chuck is over the moon, too; when I told him, he about dropped the phony electrode he was trying to attach to a hooded detainee's testicle. Life really is what happens while you're busy making other plans.
March 20, 2004
If I've learned a lesson in the past few days, it's to not tempt fate. Just hours after I shared the joyous news with Chuck, I got called into my superior's office and chewed out for God-knows-what. Before you could say, "burn me with phosphoric liquid," I'd been reassigned to Fort Bragg. That's where I am right now, and I'm so mad I could spit nails. I'll write more when I calm down, but it could take a while.
I sure could use one of those Camels.
April 10, 2004
OK, I'm finally back. I knew that weasel Wisdom had something to do with this. I hear he testified at an Article 32 hearing yesterday, where he had some awfully damning things to say about yours truly. Apparently, he claims that I was present when one prisoner was made to simulate masturbating into the mouth of another. The little pantywaist says he heard me shout, "He's getting hard," while Mr. High-and-Mighty was leaving the room in disgust. As if! Anybody who was there and doesn't have an ax to grind knows that what I really said was, "He's getting hard to see. Can some of you taller fellows please get out of the way?"
Hey, it's not my fault I'm short.
April 28, 2004
The photos from our Iraqi operation went public today. Like the rest of the country, I was mortified and nauseated. I look so fat.
May 14, 2004
What a mess. Instead of picking out khaki window treatments with my sweetie, I'm stuck here at Fort Bragg, facing a court-martial and watching old movies in my room. I saw a really good one last night called Judgment at Nuremberg. I think I picked up a few pointers.
Despite it all, I'm trying not to despair, and put all my focus on that little blessing Chuck and me have coming. I really believe that children are the best part of all of us. They're, like, the sum total of their parents' wisdom. It's going to be so great to have someone around that I can invest with the full measure of my experiences. Chuck feels that way, too; we're both determined that this baby is going to be a living symbol of everything we learned while we were in Iraq. I think we're going to name him Uday.